By Nancy Haggerty
BREWSTER — Fordham Prep ice hockey coach Will Beck called it an emotional game.
Roller coaster would be another term.
Beck’s Rams blew a three- and then a one-goal lead. But paced by Dan Bugniazet’s hat trick, they ultimately defeated Catholic High School Athletic Association league rival Iona Prep 6-4 Friday at Brewster Ice Arena.
Brett Gardner’s goal with 3:18 left proved to be the game-winner.
The Rams, now 2-1, jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead behind two goals from Bugniazet and a power-play goal from Patrick Colgan.
The period wasn’t as lopsided as it might sound. Colgan opened the scoring with just 7:04 left, and Fordham Prep goalie Will Wrotniak (16 saves) came up with a couple of huge stops.
But the Gaels dominated play throughout much of the second period, in part because of Rams penalties.
Christian Van Hecke scored with 11:48 left in the second on a power play. Then Glenn Puppa put in the first of his three goals on a power play.
Puppa’s second goal, which sent Wrotniak’s water bottle into the air, came on a breakaway with 10:21 left in the period.
“You can never count them out,” Beck said of the Gaels.
And that became apparent again when Puppa answered Owen Fearon’s late second-period goal with his third in the opening minute of the third, tying things at 4 — this time on a five-on-three power play.
“Their power play was almost unstoppable,” said Bugniazet, a junior from Harrison.
But then came Gardner’s goal and Bugniazet’s third, which was more of a pass that an Iona defender redirected past goalie Nic Buongiorno, who had 20 saves.
Gardner, who grabbed a Brendan Murphy chip feed, waited until after the lone defenseman back slid down, then shot high on Buongiorno.
“I was patient. I saw an opening,” said Gardner, a senior from White Plains.
Gaels coach Charles Berger said he was pleased with his 0-2 squad’s power play but not with its inability to clear the puck from in front of its net.
“Even though it was six goals, I thought it could have been worse,” he said.